Sunday, December 30, 2012

They Still Matter

In a hundred years anything you do will not matter, I had someone say this to me and although it is an easy answer in a lot of situations, is this really true?

Genealogy is one of my passions; I get myself lost in the research and really feel good once I find an answer to what I am looking for, although finding answers just make you want to find more.

I wouldn’t call myself a Genealogist, and what do you call someone who collects dead relatives, loves spending time walking through graveyards, gets a thrill at looking through old death certificates, and then puts the information together to get a feel for past lives.
I have quite a few people in my family tree that seem to have simply vanished, and no matter how many times I go back to look they are still not there.

My Great Grandmother is one of these, for the life of me I cannot find her parents anywhere, she was born in 1882 so with this said she is not on the 1880 census, she married my Great Grandfather in 1899 so on the 1900 census she is living with him.

The 1890 Census would be the perfect place to look. Right? Guess which census was lost in a fire in this area? Yes there is no 1890 census for the area I grew up in, Her death certificate gives the names of her parents but these names do not appear anywhere else.

This is a brick wall that I will break through one day.

Another is the Daughter of a 2nd Great Grand Uncle, all I have ever had is her name and birth year, for many years I have searched for information on her, a cousin came through a few days ago and gave me the name of the man this girl had married.

I actually found a newspaper article from June of 1906 that tells her story:

She married in December of 1905 and lived in an older home with her husband, they lived on the upper floor and another family lived downstairs, on the first day of June 1906 a fire erupted in the middle of the night.

A defective flue in the kitchen caused a fire to smolder and erupt about two in the morning, the family downstairs escaped but she and her husband didn’t, Their remains were gathered together, placed in the same coffin, and laid to rest in the church cemetery.

The family believes it was foul play and an investigation claims accidental death, there is no set answer still today, so better than a hundred years ago there is still a question.

Do answers to these two situations matter? I find myself getting so deep into these stories I feel like I actually knew these family members, looking into the faces of people who died many years before I was born tells me that after a hundred years, it still matters.

Do you collect Dead Relatives, and do you think our actions today will really matter in 100 years?

26 comments:

  1. I know I had a relative on my dad's side who traveled from Spain with Father Serra to build the California missions. My mother's grandfather is recorded as entering Ellis Island from the Azores in the late 1800s. I agree with you that these lives did and still do matter.

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    1. Stephen, It is such a good feeling to me when I find facts like this, you see how important your family members actually were in their time, most never realized they were a part of history so to say, just living life as they saw fit.

      They in fact shaped who we all are today so like you I say they still matter.

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  2. I used to research mine, but haven't done it for quite some time. I think every life from every generation matters, regardless if there is anyone in the future generations that cares to research it. Every life touches another life, in some way.

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    1. Amen Ms. A, Every life does touch many others in one way or another, I enjoy doing the research, I get out of it for a while then before I know it I am back in it right up to my knees :)

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  3. I love finding things out about my long gone relatives, but I always find it frustrating when there's something that's obviously covered up.

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    1. Hi Kellie, Yes the obvious coverups are frustrating to no end, because they hide the true facts, the documentation on a lot of people is actually lost forever because someone decides to hide the truth.

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  4. If it matters to you, it matters. One reason why I blog and self-publish the crap I self-publish is so my life may matter to my future relatives.

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    1. Hey Joe, All the research I have done I hope to print out one day for the kids and Grand kids to read, I have thought to write a book or two for the same reason, I suppose until then I will continue to blog because this is a good way to keep you all entertained somewhat Ha Ha

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  5. My brother-in-law is into genealogy big time. He has visited Sweden and the distant relatives there, and he knew for sure he had found the correct relatives when he entered the living room of one of these distant relatives and found the same picture of a group of family members hanging on the wall there as in the living room of his parents.

    And I do think we all matter...just watch "It's a Wonderful Life" or any of the "Back to the Future" movies! :-)

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    1. It's a Wonderful Life is such a great movie and the subject of how important each one of is shines through in this one for sure.

      Family resemblances sure shows up in all of our families, I looked at a picture of a distant cousin today and thought it was my Great Grandmother, even the way she was standing looked like Granny, their fathers were brothers so I suppose they should look alike :)

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  6. How I wish I'd paid attention when my parents were telling the stories of my ancestors. And how I wish I had ASKED QUESTIONS! My dad was the original "little rascal". He was abandoned by his mom and lived on the street. He grew up with so much knowledge because his life was one of "learn or die". I have no names with which to even begin a search. It's not "important" but it gives one a sense of being grounded.

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    1. This has been one of my biggest regrets also, there were a lot of stories I heard growing up that were never written down, the storytellers are long gone and I do my best to write them down before I forget them myself.

      Your Dad had a rough start in life and I can see where names for you would in fact be hard to come up with.

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  7. It is always interesting to try to find our relatives and work on our family tree. That is so so sad about the fire that cost the life of those two, especially if it was foul play.

    I would like to think 100 years from now someone would be interested in knowing about me, but I'm not really sure who would keep our memories alive or work on our family tree. I had an aunt on my mom's side who did extensive work, but after she passed I don't think anyone took up where she left off. Same with hubby's side.

    I do follow another blog that does a lot of genealogy with his family and the fascinating stories he finds.

    All I know is I think we all need to mark our pictures with who are in them and the approximate date of when they were taken. I know in looking through hubby's parents' things (they both passed last year; hubby inherited their house) we had no clue who was in what picture if he couldn't identify his parents so a lot of those pictures got shredded. My mom, on the other hand, a few years before she passed took the time with my sister to identify all her pictures and tell a little bit about the people in the pictures, etc., which in turn my sister wrote down and now can share those people's stories with us. So I'm an advocate on marking pictures :)

    Happy New Year!

    betty

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    1. Hi Betty, Marking pictures with names and dates is an excellent suggestion, I too have found many pictures in our collections that we have no idea of who the person is.

      Genealogy is somewhat addicting and with that said maybe you can get hold of some of the records your Aunt gathered on the family, you just may become the next family Genealogist :)

      A Happy New Year to you also.

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  8. I've researched all sides of my tree and was lucky enough to get names and dates on one side dating back to the late 1500's. My inlaws spent some time in Germany and were even able to take photos of three homes inhabited by my ancestors, which was really cool. But I have also hit walls along the way. It can be fun, but extremely difficult and time consuming. The best part is when you get a tidbit of personal info, like occupation. Happy new year!

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    1. Yes just a tidbit of information is a big thing at times, tracing your family back to the 1500's is impressive and the photos of homes in Germany is something many of us only wish to see, I have never been able to make a trip out of the states and I have a feeling it was a great time for your in laws.

      Happy New Year my Friend.

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  9. Our history is us. You clearly have an inquisitive mind; nothing wrong with that.

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    1. Thank You Bryan, Yes Sir our history is us indeed :)

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  10. I personally don't collect dead relatives, but have often been curious. Will my descendants wonder about me?

    I have a friend who is really into genealogy. She even has original letters exchanged during the civil war - they're fascinating! Enjoy your searches Jimmy. Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi Abby, I have a lot of military service records and a few other documents from the WBTS (Civil War) the letters home are both fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time, documents found for that era are not that easy to come by, but those found are a treasure for sure.

      Happy New Year Abby

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  11. I always enjoy reading these posts on genealogy, Jimmy, because even though I've never researched my family tree, I have such an interest in history.

    That's one of the cool things about Philadelphia, it has such a DEEP feeling of the past within it's architecture that you can FEEL the rich history here.

    "do you think our actions today will really matter in 100 years?"

    Yes I do because our actions have a ripple effect.

    Happy New Year to you and Cindy!

    Cheers!

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    1. Hey Ron, I have never been to Philadelphia and I just imagine from reading your blog that the history of the place is really evident even today.

      I agree that our actions cause a ripple effect that continues from now on, so 100 years from now our memories will still be felt.

      Happy New Year Buddy

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  12. I know bits and pieces. I made a scrap book for the boys with as many pictures as I could with family trees within the pages. My great grandfather was secret service for four presidents, so there is much on him, as well as his private memoirs. One of the other great (2 or 3 maybe) was a wealthy German immigrant who also wrote memoirs, which have been translated to English. Somewhere in the bloodline is a relation to a famous Hollywood producer on the boy's father's side. And that's pretty much all I got. The thing I think was interesting was that the German one had 13 kids, 4 of which survived. Like that was no big deal. Funny how our prospective on mortality has changed.

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    1. Hi Juli, It is amazing the documentation you can find on some ancestors like this and absolutely none on others, you have some impressive relatives and going through their documents has to give you a good feeling.

      I have been researching some of my family the last couple weeks and as you pointed out it was common to have more children that did not survive than those who did, the harsh living conditions and lack of medical care like we have today was a big factor.

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  13. I think you're a genealogist. The definition of a genealogist is someone who collects dead relatives and wants to see where they fit in and get a feel of their lives! I'm a genealogist too. I'm compiling our family tree, and yes, I think it does matter, and will matter in a hundred years. There will always be someone who says 'I wonder what life was like when great-grandma was alive?'.

    I have brick walls and empty slots in the family tree, too. Sometimes if I go back to looking after a long break the missing person suddenly pops into view - sometimes because I've had a break, sometimes simply because more records have been added to the internet sites.

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    1. Hi Jay, I think sometimes we get to looking so hard for information that we fail to see what is right before our eyes, I have actually done this at the cemetery, knowing right where a loved one is buried and not being able to find the grave, after a trip to the office to verify the location then going back to see that if I had only looked one row over, there it is.

      The information being added to the internet sites sure helps a lot.

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